Nevada's New Atomic License Plates - 8 News NOW

George Knapp, Investigative Reporter

Nevada's New Atomic License Plates

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Troy Wade Troy Wade
Original license plate design Original license plate design
Troy Wade of the Nevada Test Site Historical Foundation Troy Wade of the Nevada Test Site Historical Foundation
Atomic license plate now available Atomic license plate now available

If you are looking for a specialty license plate that packs a punch, the State of Nevada has just the ticket. A license plate that commemorates the contributions made by the Nevada Test Site is now on sale -- but approval for the new plate wasn't easy to get. The I-Team's George Knapp has the story.

Troy Wade said, "This is an icon that's now associated with evil" Troy Wade of the Nevada Test Site Historical Foundation has been pushing for the approval of a specialized license plate for more than three years now, not only because he personally participated in several atomic weapons tests back in the day, but because of his involvement with the Atomic Testing Museum, a world-class exhibit dedicated to the history and importance of the Nevada Test Site and its role in the Cold War.

In 2002, a statewide contest selected the mushroom cloud design as the best representation of the test site's contribution. The DMV and the Nevada Highway Patrol gave their okay, but at the last minute a few state lawmakers grumbled that an atomic license plate might be seen as tacit support for the proposed nuclear repository at Yucca Mountain, so the governor nixed the idea.

Troy Wade said, "Strictly the cloud. The thought was the theme that the State of Nevada could oppose Yucca Mountain and allow people to walk around with a mushroom cloud on their license plate. Frankly, I didn't make that connection."

Nearly all of the nuclear waste slated to be buried at Yucca Mountain was generated by civilian power plants, not by the nuclear weapons program, so opposing the mushroom cloud plate because of Yucca Mountain seemed kind of silly to Wade and others. A better reason might have been because of post 9/11 national security concerns.

The new design, already approved and already on sale, features an outline of the same Nevada Test Site and the unmistakeable atomic symbolism, like its predecessor, but no cloud.

"This one, although it's part of the same thing, is okay, so..." Wade isn't about to gripe though. A portion of the proceeds from the sales of these plates will go to help support the Atomic Testing Museum, which has received rave reviews but is still struggling to attract visitors. Wade hopes that former test site workers, and others, will step up to the plate, as he has done. "The new license plates are available at the Department of Motor Vehicles. Low numbers are available. This is the lowest number. It's my car."

Darn. So, who's got number two?

The test site plates cost $61 dollars and $25 dollars from each sale goes to the Atomic testing Museum.

Contact I-Team Investigative Reporter George Knapp

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